Reported Manchester United target Felipe Anderson possesses abundant talent to succeed in the Premier League, but is yet to display a convincing level of consistency at current club Lazio.
The Brazilian winger broke into the Lazio starting line-up in December last year, having joined the Aquile in June 2013 from Santos.
His emergence coincided with a spectacular charge up the Serie A standings that eventually led to an unexpected third-place finish.
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The once-capped Brazil international’s sparkling form prompted furious speculation throughout the summer months over his future while English giants United have been linked with a move again this week.
Adding credence to that incessant chatter, the 22-year-old’s agent expressed his client’s displeasure with a bit-part role back in September, after Anderson started just one of the capital club’s opening four Serie A fixtures.
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Though his involvement increased shortly afterwards, the elusive forward may favour a move elsewhere in January.
MUCH TO LEARN
As with many young players of his age, Anderson has suffered from frustrating inconsistencies, meaning he is yet to prove himself worthy of the £40 million fee it would reportedly take to extract him from Lazio’s clutches.
The South American starlet is direct, quick and delightfully skilful in possession, plus he is equally adept at performing on the left or right-hand side of the attack.
His dribbling ability – allied to a penchant for cutting inside – often leaves opposition defenders trailing in his wake.
Anderson struck ten goals in 32 league appearances last term, as well as assisting his team-mates with a further seven.
However, it took him until midway through that last campaign to truly force his way into Stefano Pioli’s plans, and he subsequently didn’t do enough to convince his coach that he was worthy of consideration until late-September this time around.
A recurring theme in all of this is Anderson’s tendency to go missing in matches when they’re not quite going his way; but when he is in form, he’s simply irresistible.
POTENTIAL SUITORS BEWARE
Until two games ago, Anderson appeared to be back in the groove following a shaky beginning to 2015-16, plundering five goals in just seven all-competition starts.
Old issues then resurfaced with two quiet showings during successive defeats to Atalanta away and AC Milan at home – their first Stadio Olimpico loss of the season.
That came hot on the heels of a man-of-the-match performance against Torino, in which he notched a fine brace.
Undoubtedly, Anderson's special abilities can have a huge impact upon the results achieved by Lazio. If he delivers, the Biancocelesti invariably win.
However, the topsy-turvy nature of his form puts him in the same bracket as another promising United wide forward Memphis Depay, who has struggled to nail down a regular spot in Louis van Gaal’s side since arriving from PSV to much fanfare last summer.
It certainly takes time for relatively inexperienced footballers to adapt to a new culture and a vastly different style of football to what they’re used to.
Given the evidence offered by Anderson thus far, it would suggest he’d be better served by continuing his development at Lazio in order to mature and further instil consistency into his game, as opposed to jumping ship when he isn’t quite ready.
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